John Cropp is an esteemed college athletic administrator, former head coach and longtime UK employee. Throughout his 23 years with the university, Cropp had a significant role in many sports and programs.
In 2013, Kentucky unveiled their brand-new softball facility, named John Cropp Field. Since then, it has hosted both SEC tournament and NCAA regionals.
Early Life and Education
John Cropp was born in Montana and raised in Maryville, TN. As a senior on his high school team, he played football and baseball before signing a scholarship with Vanderbilt University. During that time he earned three varsity letters as well as receiving the Wade-Looney Memorial Award.
He served as a lieutenant in the United States Army from 1962-65, coaching football abroad and at Manheim College in Pennsylvania before transitioning into collegiate coaching.
He spent over a decade coaching college football at Vanderbilt, Texas Tech, Ole Miss and Duke before entering athletic administration. As associate athletic director for 22 years at the University of Kentucky under C.M. Newton and Mitch Barnhart, he was primarily responsible for their football, soccer and softball teams until his retirement in 2013.
John Cropp began his professional football coaching career as a high school football coach in the Nashville area. His first head coaching position was at Tennessee High School in Bristol, TN where his teams amassed an impressive 48-15-3 record and two Class AAA state titles.
After leaving his high school alma mater, he pursued several college coaching positions, including an assistant coaching position at Vanderbilt in 1973 under Steve Sloan. Following that experience he went on to serve as assistant coach at Texas Tech (1975-77), Ole Miss and Duke before returning to VU for another stint.
He is currently the CEO and SVP of Technology for Early Access Care, a company providing global software solutions for drug R&D. With over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, he has spearheaded many major initiatives from early development through process optimization to full global implementations of an ERP business solution.
Achievements and Honors
Cropper’s career in music has earned him numerous awards and honors. He is one of the premier guitarists worldwide, his mastery being featured on albums by artists such as Rod Stewart, Peter Frampton, Booker T and the MG’s, Ringo Starr, and Wynonna.
At the 66th annual BMI Country Awards in November 2018, Cropper was recognized as a BMI Icon for his inspirational impact on generations of song writers.
He had a deep-rooted connection to the abolitionist movement and played an influential role in furthering anti-slavery causes around the world. He was part of the radical ‘Dingle Group’ of abolitionists based at Dingle Bank in South Liverpool; this extended group included prominent black intellectual and activist James McCune Smith.
Cropp was an accomplished athlete and administrator. As the longtime associate director of athletics/administration at the University of Kentucky, he spearheaded their softball program to national prominence.
He was part of the New Zealand team that won an Olympic gold medal in sailing’s Sharpie class event at the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia.
Cropp had a deep-seated commitment to education throughout his personal life. He grew up in Kansas but later relocated to Damascus, Maryland.
As council chair, Cropp revolutionized the District’s government and enhanced public service. Her initiatives led to balanced budgets, revitalized neighborhoods, economic growth and enhanced quality of life for District residents.
John Cropper was a British philanthropist and abolitionist renowned for his generosity. As part of the Liverpool City Mission committee, Cropper served on its advisory board.
He was also associated with an orphan school on Norfolk Island and organized for two children of Francis Williams, an orphaned slave, to be baptised. On January 15th 1821 he passed away.
Guitar player and songwriter Cropper has amassed an impressive net worth. He has supported numerous renowned artists while serving as producer on albums.
He serves as an independent director of NGL Energy Partners LP and owns shares in that company. Furthermore, he holds equity interests in Energy Transfer Operating LP (ETP).